Suarez proves worth to Barcelona but Gomes looks a lost cause

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The Uruguayan striker did not have a very good game by his standards, but he did net the all-important leveller as the Portuguese struggled again

It could have been better for Barcelona and it could have been worse. In the end, a 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid sees the Catalans' 100 per cent record in La Liga end, but does ensure they remain five points clear of Real Madrid in the Primera Division. All thanks to Luis Suarez.

Suarez endured a difficult night in attack for Barca, often out on the left with Lionel Messi more central, and his recent performances have been frustrating for fans and the player himself this term. Nevertheless, he still provided the all-important equaliser near the end.

Barcelona 13/2 to beat Olympiakos 2-0

The Uruguayan has taken time out through injury this season, worked extra hard to return for his country's vital World Cup qualifiers and has also been played in a different position under new coach Ernesto Valverde.

In addition, he is perhaps the biggest loser following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and the subsequent injury to Ousmane Dembele, which has upset the balance of a Barca attack badly missing some pace and trickery to stretch Atletico on Saturday.

Atletico Barca score

"It's possible that he worked excessively [to return]," the striker's first coach at Nacional in Uruguay, Martin Lasarte, told Goal recently. "He is physically very strong and when he is fully fit, he is like a bull. He is not quite at that level at the moment."

And he added: "Suarez is playing a little more on the wing. He hasn't scored with the same voracity. But it's a question of adaptation. For me, he is a centre-forward, but the very best players adapt and that is what he has to do."

Suarez, like Barca, improved as this match wore on. And, in truth, Barca were better when Valverde switched to 4-3-3, having started the match with 4-4-2 and Andre Gomes a seemingly strange selection in midfield.

Gomes has good technique and carries the ball forward well on occasions, while he is also physically strong. However, he still does not look like the right fit for Barcelona in this, his second season at the Catalan club.

Saul Niguez Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez Barcelona Atletico Madrid

The Portuguese is not particularly quick and appears to slow down Barca's attacks. Often, he is too predictable and unfortunately, the team's performances seem to dip every time he is in the starting XI. It is difficult to see what he offers at this point.

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The same cannot be said for Suarez. Not including penalties, the Uruguayan has 85 goals in La Liga since 2014-15, more than any other players expect Lionel Messi (102) and Cristiano Ronaldo (87). And on Saturday, his header to cancel out Saul's superb strike for Atleti dug Barca out of a hole.

"He's a player who can disappear from time to time," his national coach Oscar Tabarez said recently. "How many times during the last qualifiers did we think about taking him out and then suddenly he improved and scored goals. He's a player not to be categorised by form."

And with Messi often crowded out and unlucky with one effort from a free-kick that hit the post, the former Liverpool forward's contribution was vital in the end for Barcelona. The same, however, cannot be said for Gomes.

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